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Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts

Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts* Ricardo Rosselló resisting calls to resign over leaked messages * Ricky Martin and other performers join crowds on streets of San JuanThousands marched in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of Rossello. Photograph: Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty ImagesAccompanied by some of Puerto Rico’s most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governor’s residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for the embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents.The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the island’s flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd.Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governor’s mansion were taken down.The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rosselló opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juan’s Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides.Karla Villalon has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rosselló. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks.Villalon was outraged when Rosselló’s former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rosselló and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. Villalon has had enough.“It’s the final straw,” the homemaker said before the march. “My kids’ classrooms have mold in them … There’s just so much outrage that’s been building over time.”Demonstrators chant and wave Puerto Rican flags in San Juan. Photograph: Gabriella N Baez/ReutersThe Rosselló administration has remained under siege since the weekend after leaked text messages between the governor and a number of his inner circle revealed a slew of misogynist and homophobic comments shared between the group.A number of senior members of the administration have already resigned in the wake of the scandal, but on Monday Rosselló refused to tender his resignation, claiming that while the messages were inappropriate they were not illegal.“I’m not proud of what I did,” Rosselló told reporters on Tuesday. “Those were merely comments – but they were hurtful comments. So, I apologize for what I’ve done but again, I need to move forward and continue on the work we’re doing for Puerto Rico.”The affair only adds to sustained criticism of Rosselló’s leadership as sweeping austerity and privatization measures imposed after Hurricane Maria decimated the island almost two years ago drew public backlash.Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory, is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar debt crisis now managed by an unelected oversight board appointed in Washington that oversees much of the island’s economic affairs.Shortly before the text message scandal, referred to as “RickyLeaks”, a number of administration officials and contractors, including the former education secretary Julia Keleher, were arrested by the FBI over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $ 15.5m in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.Workers cover shop windows with wood in preparation for protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselló near La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Giusti/APKey figures in the movement to oust Rosselló remained hopeful that the protests on Wednesday would remain peaceful.A number of high-profile Puerto Ricans, including the actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer Ricky Martin and trap artist Benito Martínez Ocasio, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have also lent vocal support to the protests. Martin and Ocasio are expected to appear at the protests.San Juan’s firebrand mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, an outspoken critic of Rosselló, told the Guardian by text message the demonstrations would mark “a historic day in Puerto Rico”.Cruz, who announced she would challenge Rosselló in elections next year, became the face of resistance to the Trump administration’s faltering efforts to assist during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Both Mayor Cruz and Ricky Martin also appeared as targets of abuse in the leaked text messages.According to the messages, Rosselló referred to Cruz as “off her meds” while other administration officials mocked Martin’s sexuality.



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'It's One of the Ugliest Parts of Humanity.' Virginia Lt. Governor's Accuser Speaks About the Issue of Sexual Assault

'It's One of the Ugliest Parts of Humanity.' Virginia Lt. Governor's Accuser Speaks About the Issue of Sexual AssaultA college professor avoided talking directly about her accusation that Virginia's lieutenant governor sexually assaulted her, but she wasn't shy about publicly discussing her research and thoughts on the growing number of women reporting abuse.



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Alaska governor's race may hinge on oil-wealth checks

Alaska governor's race may hinge on oil-wealth checksANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The path to the governor's office in Alaska this year may hinge on the oil check given to state residents.



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Orman submits petitions for spot in Kansas governor's race

Orman submits petitions for spot in Kansas governor's raceTOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area businessman submitted petitions Monday with more than 10,000 signatures for what could become the most serious independent run for Kansas governor in decades and potentially doom Democrats' efforts to recapture the office.



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Judge Rules Missouri Governor's Ex-Mistress Can Testify in Invasion of Privacy Case

Judge Rules Missouri Governor's Ex-Mistress Can Testify in Invasion of Privacy CaseA St. Louis circuit court judge ruled on pre-trial motions for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' invasion of privacy case.



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Judge rejects Missouri governor's bid to dismiss criminal case

Judge rejects Missouri governor's bid to dismiss criminal caseA St. Louis judge on Thursday dealt Missouri Governor Eric Greitens another legal setback in the sex scandal embroiling his office, refusing to dismiss a criminal invasion of privacy charge stemming from an admitted extramarital affair. The decision by Judge Rex Burlison paved the way for the single-count felony case against Greitens, a Republican under mounting pressure from both parties to resign, to proceed to trial even as he comes under scrutiny for unrelated accusations of computer tampering. Greitens’ lawyers last week sought to throw out the privacy case on grounds of prosecutor misconduct, saying St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, had tried to conceal video evidence supporting the governor and his assertions that the affair was entirely consensual.



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Illinois House to take up governor's budget, tax vetoes

Illinois House to take up governor's budget, tax vetoesBy Dave McKinney and Karen Pierog CHICAGO (Reuters) – The fate of a spending plan and tax hike aimed at ending Illinois’ unprecedented two-year budget impasse moved on Tuesday to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which will seek to enact the legislation by overriding the Republican governor’s vetoes. Steve Brown, a spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, gave no time frame on possible House votes, though some House Democrats posted on their social media accounts that voting would take place on Thursday. “We’re still assessing when the best day will be for the people who supported passage of the legislation to return and deal with the veto message,” Brown said in an interview.



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Tokyo governor's party heads for big win in city election

Tokyo governor's party heads for big win in city electionTOKYO (AP) — The new party of the Japanese capital's populist governor appeared headed for a thumping victory Sunday over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's scandal-laden ruling party in a Tokyo assembly election that could alter national politics, with Abe's historic defeat likely making it difficult for him to achieve his agenda.



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Mexico ruling party risks nasty upset in governor's race

Mexico ruling party risks nasty upset in governor's raceMexico’s ruling party risks losing the governorship of the country’s largest state Sunday in elections that observers say are fueling a fiery left-wing populist’s prospects of becoming president next year. Losing the bellwether election in the state of Mexico — President Enrique Pena Nieto’s home state — would spell disaster for the once-mighty Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, as its own candidate has admitted. Political analysts say the tight race has given a huge boost to Morena’s founder, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a sharp critic of US President Donald Trump who wants to be Mexico’s first leftist president in recent memory.



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California's gas tax hike shows governor's political skill

California's gas tax hike shows governor's political skillSACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown employed all the tricks he's accumulated over a lifetime in politics to pass one of the largest state tax increases in recent memory in one frenzied week.



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